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Business Impact

Former Grateful Dead musician sues YouTube over unauthorized videos

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – A mandolin player who recorded with The Grateful Dead is suing YouTube for posting his videos illegally.

David Grisman, nicknamed ”Dawg” by former Dead guitarist and singer Jerry Garcia, filed the copyright infringement lawsuit May 10 in federal court in San Francisco.

Grisman and business partner Craig Miller, who run the San Rafael-based studio Acoustic Disc, said the case is about helping independent musicians whose music is distributed without authorization by YouTube’s owner, Google Inc.

The two seek an unspecified amount of money from revenue that Google received from their clips.

”We are looking out for ourselves and all the other people like us – musicians and independent publishers,” Miller told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

The lawsuit says Google and YouTube ”deliberately refuse to take meaningful steps to deter the rampant infringing activity readily apparent on YouTube.”

Grisman appears to be following Viacom Inc., which filed suit claiming YouTube used digital technology to ”willfully infringe copyrights on a huge scale.” Viacom says Google facilitated the unauthorized viewing of Viacom’s programing from MTV, Comedy Central and other networks.

In a response filed last month in the Viacom case, Google said YouTube respects the importance of copyrights and does more than is required under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The law gives Web hosts protection from copyright lawsuits so long as they comply with requests to remove unauthorized material.

Representatives from Mountain View-based Google did not respond to phone calls and e-mails Tuesday.

While the lawsuit may seem a departure for Grisman who played with the Grateful Dead, a band that tacitly encouraged fans to record shows and distribute ”bootleg” tapes of their lives shows, Miller said their is a difference between fan bootlegs and the global distribution of Google.

”No one’s looking out for the little guy,” he said.

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